They’ve earned more than they probably know what to do with in stellar two-decade careers – but some things are more important.
That’s why Steven Gerrard knows what buttons to push as Rangers try to land veteran striker Jermain Defoe on the last big deal of his career.
The 37-year-old grabbed his 14th goal of the season in Friday night’s 3-0 flaming of Hibs.
Deputising for suspended Alfredo Morelos, Defoe’s deftness of touch, athleticism and finishing instincts are as sharp as ever.
But as the Ibrox side battle to turn the 57-cap England idol’s loan deal from Bournemouth into something more permanent, Gerrard is confident they can offer the former Spurs star something no other suitors from down south can.
Defoe enters the final six months of his Cherries deal at the turn of the year and can formally finalise talks. Gerrard said: “I’m hoping
it’s a formality but until it is done and signed, it’s not.
“Are others maybe looking at him, though?
“If you can name me a team who can offer him what we are offering him in terms of size of club, in terms of opportunity at his age, in terms of the dressing room, the respect he has from the staff and the players, then I’ll have a debate with you.
“He has everything here that he needs. It is a fantastic club and he is going to get more opportunities.
“Come the end of the season he’ll be satisfied with his game time.
“I’m sure he is going to get a high number of goals, he has got a big part to play.
“We make sure he knows how important he is here. The club have been really quick in terms of letting him know how much he is wanted, which should also be important to Jermain – because sometimes the grass isn’t always greener.”
A veteran of 17 full seasons in England’s money-laden top flight, Defoe’s deals have been eye-watering in value and well beyond the reach of Rangers’ current budget.
And while Gerrard insists they’ve put the best deal they can possibly offer in front of him, he doesn’t believe the bottom line will be Defoe’s driving force if he signs up.
He said: “That’s for Jermain to answer but we’ll make sure the offer is suitable for him in terms of the package from a football point of view and also we have to look after him as well.
“We believe we’re doing everything we can to make him happy and make him want to stay here.
“You can see the fans adore him so, for me, it makes sense for him to continue his journey here because I believe we’re going in the right direction. I listen to all his press, though, and it seems like he’s having a real good time.
“Of course he thrives off game time and opportunity but we have got another forward who has been in terrific form.
“Having said that, I was really pleased with Jermain on Friday night and he has given me something to think about on Boxing Day.”
Defoe has proven himself the prefect deputy for 27-goal talisman Morelos all season.
His 14 goals have come from just 10 starts and 15 outings from the bench.
But the player admits his desire to do more and his refusal to accept semi-retirement as a cushy number is what keeps him sharp.
Defoe said: “You want to play every game. If I wasn’t bothered about playing I think the manager would think, ‘Has he lost that fire?’
But I’m still hungry to play every game, hungry to train in every session.
“My age doesn’t matter. It is just a number. On the day I wake up and I’m happy not to be playing football then I may as well stop playing.
“Of course you want to play every game but when I do get my chances I feel confident I’ll take them.”
He wasn’t the only one on Friday night. Ryan Kent and Joe Aribo’s first-half finishes were both special – even if Defoe missed the latter.
He laughed and said: “I didn’t see it. I got smashed in the build-up and jumped up and said, ‘Who scored?’.
“You are confident when a chance comes up that this team will take them. Kenty’s finish was unbelievable.
“And even without Alfredo there, competition for places is unbelievable.
“There are players not even in the squad for Friday who could come in and perform at that level.
“That’s what the manager wanted. If players are injured or suspended we still have players who can come in and win us games.”
With a five-point gap looming large to Celtic before the game, the pressure was on Rangers to keep them in range ahead of their showdown at Parkhead next Sunday.
Kilmarnock are up first as Defoe added: “That’s part and parcel of playing for a club of this size. Every game is a cup final and you must perform.
“When you know the games are so important you prepare yourself as well as you can, tick every box and make sure you feel confident.
“We have a strong squad. We’re in a good place and we want it to continue.
“There’s a long way to go. The second part of the season is the important one.
“It’s interesting for the neutral but we just have to focus on ourselves and keep winning.”